Weaning and Feeding Essentials
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If you thought milk feeding was interesting, starting solids is a whole new world of messy fun:
• You might want to read up on the different approaches and check out baby recipe books before you start. If you're more of a suck-it-and-see kind of parent, it's still a good idea to talk to your health visitor about when to start and which foods to avoid.
• All you need at the very beginning is a few soft spoons that won't damage your baby's delicate palate. Then you can add some baby bowls to your kit. Look out for baby bowls with suction bases to help keep meals on the table instead of the floor. Weaning starter sets provide all the basics.
• Save time on food preparation by steaming vegetables in advance and freezing them in small containers, or serve mashed-up family meals to your baby.
• Once your baby can sit up unsupported, a highchair will be essential. Think about how much space you have and whether the chair you like will fit with your decor. Most chairs have a tray, which is easy to clean and fairly self-contained. Others can be pulled right up to the table, perhaps helping your baby to feel more involved in family meals. Some chairs can be folded flat to save space in a small place. A portable booster seat might come in handy, so your baby can eat in restaurants and at friends' houses without needing a highchair. Remember to always fasten the straps, and never leave your baby unattended in their highchair or booster seat.
• Your baby should move away from bottles around their first birthday, so try to introduce a cup around six months.
• When your baby has the motor coordination for finger foods, a snack keeper is a fun way to help them keep a few nibbles in one place.
• Weaning is a time for mess, mess and more mess. Bibs, splash mats and wipes will help with the clean-up operation. Keep in mind that babies are washable, and the more mess they make, the quicker they'll learn about food.
Check out the lists below for ideas and products to help you with weaning and feeding.